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Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Archive for Jill’s Blog

Jun
28

The Art of Starting

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Jill Hart - Mixing Faith & Business blogMany times the hardest part of working from home is simply getting started. This is true in the bigger sense of choosing a business, getting everything in place and making that first sale. However, it’s also true in the day-to-day grind of working from home. Some mornings the art of starting is much harder than others.

On those mornings where I’m struggling to get going, I’ve found a few ways to “trick” myself into starting.  One of the first things I do each morning is remind myself why I do what I do. One of my favorite verses has also become a challenge to me to do the work that God has placed before me:

“Be strong and brave, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, because the Lord God, my God, is with you.”
1 Chronicles 28:20

Once my attitude is on the right track, then I can begin the task portion of my day. Here are a few ideas that I use to get in gear:

Get Organized – I have learned over the years that when it comes to my To-do List, I can’t simply write out big tasks and expect to accomplish them. Those big tasks overwhelm me, so I avoid them. Instead, I write out the steps necessary to complete the big tasks and accomplish those one by one.

For instance, if I need to market my business I don’t simply write on my list “Market Business.” I break it down into manageable tasks such as “Call two referrals” or “Outline new article.” These are things I can do, cross of my list and move on to the next thing without needing to spend an extraordinary amount of time deciding what to do or how to do it.

Challenge Yourself – Within my to-do list each day, there are always a few things that I dread doing. So, I’ve taken up challenging myself to do at least one of these “horrible things” each day.  I’ve also found that doing the hardest thing first sets me up to feel like I’ve accomplished something big, so I can easily handle the other items on my to-do list. It also helps motivate me to keep going, to press on and see how many things I can cross off my list each day. Read More→

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerdana-pubThe goal of branding for success is to bring your company “top of mind” to your customer. This is called brand positioning.

But how can you do that?

One very effective way is through book publishing. And with the Internet, it has never been easier!

Your aim needs to be that of becoming a trusted advisor. For instance, if you are a representative for a weight loss company, you can brand yourself as a wellness coach and publish a book on weight loss tips that your audience would find beneficial.

Maybe you are a service professional. Take your expertise and create a book that will educate your target market about your particular specialty.

Read More→

Looking to start working from home? We know that staying productive can prove difficult, but thankfully there’s a tonne of tech out there to help you stay on top of your workload. And the best bit of tech?

Your smartphone.

To help you make the most out of your phone, Modern Garden Rooms, have created a rundown of all the apps you’ll want to download to help ensure that you remain productive when working from home!

Here’s a quick sample:

TRACKING YOUR TIME

Work as a freelancer? Then you’ll know that time is money. And in the midst of your deadlines and intricate projects it’s easy to lose track of how much time you’ve actually spent on each project and therefore, how much you should charge.

Enter time tracking apps. Each of these will help you monitor how much work time you’re spending on a certain problem or project and help you bill for it accurately. Some of these are packed with functionality; others are a little more basic. Pick out the one that’ll suit the way you work below.

HARVEST

www.getharvest.com

This is the preferred time-tracking app for many freelances. It’s paid, but is full of functionality, offers support, and allows you to track a number of different projects at the same time.

DUE

www.due.com

If you don’t want to pay monthly then Due is the app for you. It’s free for life, helps you create invoices, and is super simple to use. The ideal app for any freelance working from home.

See the entire list at  Modern Garden Rooms!

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If your company is only using social media for advertisement purposes, you could be missing out on a valuable tool to serve your customers. J.D. Power reported that 67 percent of consumers have used a company’s social media site to raise customer service issues, meaning a large majority of people expect some form of direct contact on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Today’s consumers want around-the-clock, seamless service. And while even small businesses can tap into the social media service revolution, it does take some finessing to get the technique right. From choosing the right platform to winning over disgruntled customers, here’s an overview of how to use social media as a powerful customer service channel.

Choose the Right Social Media Channels

There’s no point in spreading yourself thin to offer support on every social media channel. Instead, focus on the channels your customers use most. According to Pew Research, 81 percent of moms and 66 percent of dads use Facebook. It stands to reason that small businesses catering to moms should use Facebook to offer their customers support.

Twitter is also a strong contender in the online customer care business. According to Twitter’s marketing insights, customers who tweeted a company directly and then received a response reported higher satisfaction scores than those who reached out via traditional channels, like the phone or in-person.

Use Omni-Channel Capabilities

Today’s consumers want consistent, reliable support across multiple channels. The idea is your customer can visit your website or social media channels, or call you directly and have the same experience when issues arise.

At the end of the day, what your customers are looking for is seamless support, which can be difficult to achieve without the right tools. Some businesses use cloud-based contact center solutions to iron out operational issues. For example, adopting a service like Aspect can help your company with inbound and outbound calls and self-service options, among other areas, to create that seamless interaction customers desire. Read More→

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telecommuting momAre you a work at home mom or are you thinking about starting your own home-based business? More parents than ever are deciding to work in this way, but some people fare out better than others. The individuals who take their home-based business seriously and take the appropriate steps when they are setting up their businesses are the ones who are the most likely to succeed. Below are some tips that will help you to become a more efficient, professional work at home mom.

Improve Your Communication and Business Skills

Like any business person, you have to act in a professional way when you are dealing with clients, suppliers, and any other business associates that you have to communicate with. However, it can take some time and some guidance to develop the communication and business skills you require.

If possible, you should invest in yourself by completing a communications course or a course that will improve your business skills. An online masters in communication management program offered by a recognized university such as the University of Southern California will enhance these important skills and provide you with the knowledge you require to become a much more effective work at home professional.

Some home-based entrepreneurs may be hesitant to start such a course because they feel they wouldn’t have the time to commit to a full-time course and attend classes and lectures. However, with a large number of online master of communication management degree programs available, you can now study from the comfort of your home and obtain a valuable qualification without ever having to set foot in a college or a university.

Set Down Rules and Find a Dedicated Place to Work

Managing your personal life and working from home is not always an easy balancing act. From the start, you need to make it clear to family members and friends that you have a business to run and that there are certain times of the day when you don’t want to be distracted or disturbed.

You can do a lot to prevent many of the common disturbances that can take place while you’re trying to work. For example, you should work from a quiet location in your home that includes all of the equipment you need. Read More→

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coffee and computerAs many of your know, I recently completed my Master’s Degree – and I did it online.

Today, technology has made its way into almost all aspects of the classroom. Along with teachers who allow their students to use gadgets in class, having computers and the internet readily available for research and the introduction of smart blackboards rather than pen and paper, the digital age is transforming the way we learn.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes that we’ve seen made to education by technology is the ability to learn online. Distance learning is becoming increasingly popular, and here are the reasons why.  

Reason #1. Flexible Study

Today’s students aren’t just young adults fresh out of high school, leaving the parental home for the first time. In fact, there are greater numbers of older people who are heading back to college to finally get their bachelor’s degree or even returning for their online masters of social work. Mature students tend to have more commitments such as full-time jobs or children; online learning is often the perfect choice for them since no other option could be so easily slotted in around their busy lives.

Reason #2. Lower Tuition Fees

Although college tuition is currently at an all-time high, you don’t expect to pay quite as much when you decide to study online. Since online colleges and departments such as Rutgers Online don’t have as many overheads when it comes to e-learning programs, the cost is less per-student therefore colleges are able to charge you less. In general, you can expect to pay around a third less for distance learning options. However, some Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) can be accessed free of charge.

Reason #3. Excellent Support

When you head to college to study for your bachelor’s degree on-campus or your masters in social work online, you expect to receive an outstanding level of support from your tutors and teaching staff. One of the biggest myths about e-learning is that students are left to get on with things on their own, hundreds of miles away from the nearest professor. But, whilst you may not be located physically close, you will still get excellent support from a good online learning provider. Most have web chat facilities that you can use to get in touch. Read More→

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerSome Thoughts on Power, Prayer, and Pleasing by Pam BassI’ve been reading in 2 Chronicles lately, through my daily bible reading plan. It always amazes me amidst all the wars and violence of the Old Testament there are verses tucked away that speak to me. One verse in ch. 25 is, v. 2: “Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly.”  It appears he started off well, but it didn’t stick. [he didn’t finish well?] He did seek God via a prophet and in verse 9b it states: “The man of God replied, “the Lord is able to give you much more than this!” But it seems that God’s abundance wasn’t enough for him. His son Uzziah then becomes king at age 16 and “He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done.” He rebuilt towns, he sought God, and listened to Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of the Lord. And as long as the king sought the Lord, God gave him success.” (v26:4-5).

What’s amazing is I think we’re a lot like him: we start off well in our marriages, saying to ourselves, ‘I’m gonna be respectful, wise, kind, and loving; I’m gonna be the modern version of the Proverbs 31 lady”. And bless our hearts, we try and try. But then he does something stupid or unkind, or totally thoughtless, etc. and we stop trying. We stop seeking God on our marriage, on ourselves. We think, ‘well, he’s not doing his part, I’ll just quit doing my part and wait for him. After all, he’s supposed to be the leader (head) of our family. This is not good, ladies.

Read More→

Jun
15

And The Award Goes To…

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Rare is the time when I actually am all caught up with my schedule. Whenever I think I am caught up, something happens that takes that and throws it out the window.

Such was the case this past week. I was very much happy with the fact that I was on schedule and I had everything in hand. Nothing makes me feel better.

Of course, this is mostly delusional, at least for me. If there ever was an award for being delusional, I am quite certain I would be at the top of the list. The amazing thing about being delusional is that you never think you are.

As I was wallowing in my delusion and enjoying every moment of it, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came and said rather sharply, “Are you ready to go?”

At the moment, I had no idea what she was talking about. And so I responded, “Huh?”

I’m not sure if that is really a word or not, but it accurately described my delusional moment at that time. I had no idea what she was talking about.

“You haven’t,” she said, “forgotten what day it is, have you?”

I was tempted to say, “Of course not. It’s Tuesday.” Fortunately, I did not yield to that temptation and just responded with another, “Huh?”

With a disdaining look she said, “You would forget your head if it wasn’t attached.”

I wouldn’t tell her, but I probably would not miss my head if I would forget it. After all, I don’t wear a hat.

“Today,” she said in a very serene voice, “the two grandchildren are getting awards at school.”

I’m not quite sure if I forgot or if I was not listening when the instructions came my way. At this point, I was not going to let anybody know, particularly my wife.

“Oh, yes,” I said getting up from my chair, “I’m all ready to go. Let’s go.”

She gave me one of her classic sarcastic grins and we headed for the door.

Our one granddaughter was graduating from the third grade and the other from the fifth grade. Unfortunately, one was at 8:30 in the morning and the other was it 1 o’clock in the afternoon. It would make sense to have them all at once, but what has sense to do in our world today?

I did not want to complain, after all, it is our grandchildren, but I think the planning could have been just a little bit better than that. After all, sitting in the school cafeteria listening to the award ceremony is about as exciting as it can get.

The chairs that we had to sit on were uncomfortable, which was very fortunate for me because I was not tempted to fall asleep during the ceremony. I believe that was done on purpose.

Imagine getting an award for completing the third grade!

I cannot remember any such thing when I was going to grade school. Our great award was leaving school and going home in the afternoon. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

We live in a different world today where everybody gets an award for something or sometimes for nothing.

Then I remembered my cell phone in my shirt pocket. It is times like this that God had in mind when he invented this cell phone technology. I pulled out my cell phone and started checking my email.

Then I felt a sharp pain in my right ribs (thanks Eve) and I heard a voice saying, “Put that away and pay attention.”

Slowly and reluctantly, I returned my cell phone to my shirt pocket and tried to pay attention but I didn’t have enough quarters. Paying attention can be very expensive when you’re in situations like this. Read More→